Two girls, Laura and Lizzie, fight fear and temptation as dark things lurk in the woods. Like the delicious fruit the titular goblins’ sell, Christina Rossetti’s poem Goblin Market is ripe for the adaptation at the hands of the Nottingham New Theatre. Tim Ovenden was there to see it.
I have never understood the appeal of front row seats at theatres. Yes, I want to be able to clearly see the stage, but no amount of visibility is worth the risk of awkward eye contact with actors’ mid-performance. God-forbid, what if there is audience participation? As the lights dimmed on a cold Thursday night for New Theatre’s adaptation of Goblin Market, my trepidations were vindicated…
The first time we hear their surrounding growls in the dark alcoves of the stage is nerve-racking and their resulting outburst is a genuine experience
It is no secret that the goblins are what make this production. Deliciously overacted – often hilariously, often unpredictably, sometimes scarily – the three actors give their all and steal the show. The first time we hear their surrounding growls in the dark alcoves of the stage is nerve-racking and their resulting outburst is a genuine experience, equal parts uncomfortable and exciting. My regrettable choice of seating (front and centre) meant there were plenty of moments where the goblins’ literal scenery chewing got a little too close and personal, but it is part of the experience and there is something to be said about pushing the boundaries of one’s comfort zone!
The goblins’ neon paint design is bold, matching the incredible atmospheric lighting, better than any creature design from The Hobbit trilogy of ‘films.’ One goblin, the timider, female one, was even given character progression, which was appreciated.
This is my first visit to the Nottingham New Theatre so I cannot say how the rudimentary set design compares to other productions, but the small space was exploited well for stage. The use of sound was generally very fitting, although I did find the generic moody piano instrumentals to be a bit much during the more melancholic moments, as if trying to force us to feel something. Nevertheless, I did love the closing ambient piece and its seemingly avant-garde placement. My final note is that the play does become a little repetitive even at 50 minutes, with events solely alternating between the girls and the goblins, but I would still very much recommend viewing!
Featured image courtesy of The Nottingham New Theatre via Facebook. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article image courtesy of @goblinmarket.nnt via @instagram.com. No changes were made to this image.
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